Garmin’s New smart watch ( the Vivoactive 4)

The Vivoactive 4 is Garmin’s newest iteration of its line of touchscreen fitness watches.  If you have been a serious runner for any period of time, you know that Garmin makes some of the best fitness watches in the industry. 

The Vivoactive line has been close to the entry level prices compared to the Feniz and Forerunner lines offered by Garmin. 

The 4 does a great job at tracking fitness, but you won’t get some of the month to month monitoring stats included with the Fenix or Forerunner. 

Specifications

  • Dimensions of 45.1 x 45.1 x 12.8 mm
  • 5ATM water resistance
  • Gorilla Glass 3 screen protection

Screen

  • 1.3-inch 260 x 260 transflective MIP screen
  • Clear in bright sunlight, needs front light indoors
  • Always-on display

The Vivoactive 4 includes much needed improvements to the touchscreen, and controls.  During normal exercise, you can swipe through the controles but it requires touching the physical buttons to pause or stop.  This fixes a big complaint we and many others had with the 3, no more accidentally stopping a jog while on the move. 

The watch does good at what it is made for: exercise tracking.  The watch performs well at tracking blood oxygen (SPO2), heart rate, respiration, and “body battery.”  However, you may miss the training load statistics that you can add via app on the Forerunner.  

The GPS sensor does a good job of tracking as well.  As with any GPS device, there may be an occassional blip of bad data, but the watch seems to reliably connect to GPS satellites and tracks well. 

The large screen of the watch is a nice feature and lets you quickly glance down during a run to check your stats.  When diving deeper into the information, the screen still holds up and displays everything nicely. 

Performance as a smart watch

As far as “normal” smart watches go, this  watch performs adequately. There are limited apps available via the Connect IQ app, but you won’t see the same functionality available on Apple Watches.   You will be able to get some notifications if you connect your phone, read emails, and reply in short messages via message suggestions.